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United Way of Franklin County raises $35,000 in highest-grossing auction to date

GREENFIELD — The United Way of Franklin County brought in $35,000 at its Art and Leisure Auction last month, the highest total ever for the annual event.

Executive Director Linda Stacy said that the organization typically raises between $20,000 and $23,000 from the event.

She said a change in location to Greenfield Community College and an increase in sponsorship money helped contribute to the event’s success.

The organization will use the auction money to support its 26 local partner agencies — through programs that improve education, promote healthy living and help people achieve financial stability.

After years of hosting the event at Eaglebrook School, United Way leaders decided to move to GCC. The larger venue meant that more people attended: about 250 compared to 165 last year. And 15 groups paid to reserve tables for the event, something that wasn’t possible in the smaller venue, said Stacy.

That change — in addition to Baystate Health joining Greenfield Savings Bank as an event sponsor — brought in $12,000 in sponsorship money, compared to about $4,500 in past years, she said.

People bid on a variety of items from local artists and sports celebrities. Two box seat sets of Red Sox tickets brought in a combined $1,285.

And 43 people purchased the children’s book “Otis” by Loren Long for $75, which will directly go toward funding a preschool reading program.

Volunteers read to a preschool class and then give each child a copy of the book. The program costs the United Way about $75 per classroom and the organization visits just over 20 classrooms every month, said Stacy.

The United Way is nearing the end of its annual campaign and is currently about halfway to its $790,000 goal, said Stacy. Many donations typically come in the final weeks of the calendar year, she said.

To make donations to the United Way, visit the office at 51 Davis St. or call 413-772-2168 for more information.

You can reach Chris Shores at: cshores@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 26

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